The senators have agreed to donate half of their March salaries to the fight against the spread of coronavirus in the country. They are however still consulting among themselves on the amount to cut from their own portion of the N128bn National Assembly budget approved for the year.
Investigations by our correspondent on Sunday revealed that the senators have started sending half of their salaries to a dedicated account. The account it was learnt was being coordinated by the Senate Committee on House Services.
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, confirmed to our correspondent on Sunday that his colleagues had started donating half of their March salaries.
He said, “We’ve already given out 50 per cent of our salaries like ministers, (to government) amidst other individual efforts to our constituents.”
But the Leader of the Senate, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, told our correspondent on Sunday that the senators were still consulting on the matter. He, however, disclosed that the senators would not do exactly what the ministers have done.
He said, “The senators are still consulting. The result of our consultations will be made open tomorrow (today) Monday. We are not doing exactly what the ministers have done.”
Abdullahi also said that the leadership of the National Assembly had not agreed on when to reconvene and review the 2020 national budget.
A senator, however, told our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Sunday that the part of the sacrifice that members of the Senate wanted to make was to reduce their own portion of the N128bn National Assembly budget.
He said, “We have agreed to slash the National Assembly budget for this year in line with the current reality. It is certain that the Federal Government will reduce the N10.59tn national budget because of the reduction in the revenue to fund it. So, we are reducing our own too.”
The President, Muhammadu Buhari had proposed N125bn to the federal parliament, but the lawmakers added N3bn to it. Nigeria’s 43 ministers had last week announced the donation of 50 per cent of their March 2020 salaries to support the Federal Government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.